She laughed. Wild laughter that cut loose from inner moorings, escaping to outside. It must have. Because the man turned, looked face into her face, intent, piercing, and said it like an accusation: “She laughed.”
Fearsome, somehow, that accusation. And so, reflexively she denied. No! She had not laughed!
But she had. Inside at least she had laughed—and laughed. Crazy laughter, cynicism-tinged, whose bitter edge the years of blundering, wandering, slave acquiring had produced. The Seed of Abram, of Abraham, the angel had said. Abraham, not Sarah.* And so, her hope expiring over time, she’d relinquished the motherhood right, to slave so undeserving, only to bear reproach on its account.*
But now, now, this One was saying, no, it would be she, the daughter of Shem’s Promise line, to bear the son, the seed in whom all nations would be blessed!*
The very thought! That this bent body, withered womb, could produce a baby, fresh alive, all new with hope—old hope.
Yes, old hope. Hope passed down from Eve, from Adam. Hope that died a thousand deaths in floods of judgment, back in Noah’s time. Great-great-(nine-greats) Grandfather Noah. Himself a child with hope attached, promised in his father’s prophetic proclamation: “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.”
But Lamach didn’t live to see it, died before (or in?) that flood, and left was Shem’s and Ham’s and Japheth’s lines, that’s all, and those last two cast in far-flung places (Gen 11:1,4,8), and Ham’s line cursed, to top it off.*
But Shem… Shem’s line. What did Father Noah say? “Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem…” Not of Shem and Ham and Japheth. Of Shem (Gen 9:24-26).
And so of Abram, Abraham. And of her, Sarai, Sarah (Gen 11:10-11,26-29). Down that twisting genealogy to idol times and places, from which God had called them out, out into a desert, barren as her womb.
And here, in the barren desert, here from the barren womb, the place of greatest improbability—no, impossibility, a child was to come forth.
And so he did. Just as God said. Just when God said. And Sarah laughed again, again. So they named him Laughter. Isaac, Laughter.
And she laughed some more.
And God blessed her—and took her from the earth before time would reveal the disappointment: that this was not the One, not yet. Still not yet! No, just a very earthy man, who loved the earthy savors and would twist the promise of the LORD to mesh with them. But that’s another baby story…
[To read, hover your cursor:
Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; 16:1-5;18:1-2,9-15; 21:1-3, 6-7.]
Seeking the Christ Child (in the Old Testament):
In the weeks leading up to Christmas, I am searching for prophecies and foreshadowings of the Christ child, book by book. I plan to post (nearly) every weekday (leaving myself some margin) a short peek at some hint or promise of the coming baby who would make all the difference. Like the wise men, I’ll be Seeking the Christ Child, but in Old Testament promises and foreshadowings, and sharing what I find. I hope you’ll join me, because if it turns out as rewarding as the past spring’s pre-Easter explorations, this focus could make this one of the richest, most blessed Christmas seasons yet.
Previous posts in this series: